In one of our regular “How To Become A Member Of The Club” webinarsJohn Moss and I were asked a fantastic question about how much time you should invest in changing a poor reputation before moving onto a different firm? Here is how John and I responded:

Changing a poor reputation?  How big is the problem?

Heather Townsend on changing a poor reputationHeather: I think you should always invest time to understand the scale of the problem, because if you don’t, then it’s very difficult to know how much time you should invest.  So if you’re getting feedback from more than two or three influential people that you’re never going to make partner – never, ever, ever – it’s probably not worth spending the time addressing that as changing a poor reputation, and instead, really think about ‘How can I use my time in this firm to build my employability, to go elsewhere?’

But actually if its only one or two people, and they say it’s probably fixable, then it is worth investing time.  And how much time really depends upon how much patience you have to keep hitting your head against a brick wall?  Because, you’ll need to do it plenty of times, and you’ll possibly find that, despite your best efforts, six months down the line, the opinions have not changed. At that point, you need to think again about if it is really fixable.

Are you in the right place for your career to flourish?

John Moss on changing a poor reputationJohn: I also think the other thing that maybe we don’t think enough is whether that poor reputation has come because of things about how you work, and how the way you work fits that particular firm.

So I completely agree with Heather, get plenty of feedback, really examine that feedback carefully, but also ask yourself ‘Am I in the right place?’ If you’ve worked in only one or two firms, you should know that.  But if you’re somebody who characteristically moves around, think about the culture that is surrounding you, and if you are going to move what’s the culture in the firm that you might move to – will that would bring the very best out in you?

I’m not saying ignore the feedback, I am saying deal with it.  But also think about some of the cultural aspects that surround you in your work environment.

If you are always trying to fit in, you’re probably in the wrong place.

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